kyaa fikr karuu;N mai;N kih ;Tale aage se garduu;N
yih gaa;Rii mirii raah me;N be-;Daul a;Rii hai

1) what might/would I think of, so that the sphere/wheel/heavens would move aside from before me!
2) this wagon/carriage, ill-shaped, has gotten stuck in/on my road



fikr : 'Thought, consideration, reflection; deliberation, opinion, notion, idea, imagination, conceit; counsel, advice; care, concern, solicitude, anxiety, grief, sorrow'. (Platts p.783)


;Talnaa : 'To move, stir; to be displaced, be dislocated (as a bone, &c.); to give way, to shrink, flinch; to retire, make off, get out of the way, sheer off, decamp, disappear, vanish; to pass off, pass over, pass by or away (as a fixed time or season for anything, or a danger or evil); to be evaded or shirked; to fail of observance, to withdraw, draw back or out (of a promise or agreement, &c.)'. (Platts p.358)


aage se : 'Before-hand, in anticipation, previously, before'. (Platts p.72)


garduun : 'A wheel; the heavens, the firmament, the celestial globe or sphere; chance, fortune (and her revolving wheel); — ... a chariot, chaise; a child's go-cart (by which he learns to walk)'. (Platts p.903)


be-;Daul : 'Misshapen, shapeless, ill-fashioned, ugly, clumsy, awkward; ill-mannered, ill-bred, uneducated; unpleasant, untoward'. (Platts p.203)


a;Rnaa : 'To come to a stop or stand-still, to stop, to stick; to be restive; obstructive, &c., to oppose; wrangle, contend; to be obstinate, ... ; to come into collision, become interlocked (as the wheels of vehicles); to knock or jostle (against)'. (Platts p.44)

S. R. Faruqi:

In this verse the word garduu;N is devastating, because it definitely means 'sky', but it also means 'wheel', 'a round and ball-like thing', 'fate and its wheel', and 'a gun-carriage'. In every respect the word gaa;Rii in the second line is a masterpiece of affinity and wordplay. 'Gun-carriage' [top-gaa;Rii] is especially superb, for the sky wreaks destruction like a cannon, and because a gun-carriage is heavy, it often used to get stuck on the unpaved roads of those days. (Some cannons used to be so heavy that they were simply set up in one place.)

Because of the sky, people were faced with various kinds of obstacles-- since the sky is said to be the agent of cruelty and injustice. Here the theme is that between me and the fulfillment of my heart's desire, this sky alone interposes itself; if it had moved aside, then all my desires would have come to pass. For a wagon to get stuck on the road seems apparently to be an idiom (Barkati too has assumed it to be one), but it's not to be found in any dictionary. It's possible that this might be a metaphor invented by Mir.

On the unpaved roads of the olden days (which often had a surface of slippery dust) when a wagon got stuck, then an effort was made with the help of a whole crowd, to bring it onto dry and firm ground. It's obvious that under ordinary conditions neither would so many men be available, nor would suitable ground to which the wagon could be moved. Thus for a wagon to get stuck in the road was equivalent to the blockage of coming and going in both directions.

Mir's accomplishment is that he is in a class by himself when it comes to saying some apparently everyday, but in fact uncommon, thing. It's an obvious thing to say merii gaa;Rii a;Tak ga))ii hai (this idiom is very common even today)-- that is, my project has come to a halt. But that a wagon has gotten stuck in my road-- this is an uncommon idea. And it also has more meanings, because in it is the implication that the speaker goes on foot, and thus is an ordinary person without resources and equipment. The poor man was somehow or other making his way on f oot, when there came into view a big wagon that was stuck in the road. Now his road was blocked, whatever pace he had been making was brought to a halt.

For garduu;N meaning 'sky' too, the metaphor of a wagon is extremely fine, because the very reason the sky is called garduu;N is that it is assumed to move in a circle or rotate throuth the ether. Ghalib:


Then, fikr meaning 'plan, scheme' is also fine, because in fikr (meaning 'thought' and 'anxiety') is also the speaker himself, whose road has become blocked. To use this same fikr (which is an inactive thing) in the sense of 'plan, scheme' (which is an active thing) is a superb feat of poetic creativity. (It should be kept in mind that fikr in the sense of 'scheme, device' is Urdu, not Persian/Arabic; thus the use of one single word in two languages at the same time is interesting in itself.) It's also an example of freshness in a word.

And it's also a kind of 'meaning-creation' that many words in this verse have the [retroflex] sounds of ;T , ;D , ;R , which give the feeling of something heavy, and which compel a slight hesitation in reading aloud.

Now please look at one further point: the sky is an obstruction in my road, but the world is also established with the aid of the sky. Thus if the sky moves aside from my road, then the world itself will be finished off. In that case too, the speaker's desire/purpose will not be fulfilled. Thus the thing that he is longing for in order to fulfill his longings-- if it should come about then his longings themselves will be destroyed. It's a peerless verse.



The 'kya effect' means that the first line can be a question ('What scheme can I think of such that...?'), or else (in this context) a negative exclamation ('As if I could think of anything such that...!'). As usual, both these readings work elegantly with the second line.

Moreover, the 'wheel' of the heavenly sphere is not an innocent victim of a muddy road full of potholes. It is be-;Daul , ill-shaped or misshapen, from the beginning. How could such a wagon not come to grief? The axle might break, or the poorly aligned wheels might come off the wagon entirely. How could such a 'wheel' of fortune bring the speaker anything but ill?